Environmental impact of the Pottery Industry

Data for 2004 to 2018 showed that the decrease in land for coconut and rice cultivations is due to clay mining. The land for coconut cultivation was 34.74% in 2004, but in 2018 it was reduced to 29.94%. The land for paddy cultivation was 10.03% for the year 2004, but for the year 2018, the land decreased to 7.60%. The reason for this decrease is due to the extraction of clay on these lands. Compared to 2004, land use of the south shore of Ma Oya increased by 2018, because of water wells, clay mining, Ma Oya, commercial area, vegetable garden and housing. Water pits in 2004 were 1.48%, but in 2018 they increased to 3.66%. Clay mining in 2004, which was 10.46% increased to 12.17%. During these 04 years, continuous clay mining has led to an increase in water wells. Ma Oya land use in 2004, was 6.98%, but in 2018, it increased to 7.51%. The reason for the widening of the bank of Ma Oya is due to the flow of water collected from the water wells. The area of the vegetable gardens in 2004 was 35.21%, but in 2018 it increased to 37.83%. The residential area in 2004, was 0.89%, but in 2018 it was1.09%. With the migration of people to these industrial areas, the vegetable gardens and the residential area has increased.

Table 01 – Trends on changing land use to Clay mining

Land Use TypeLand Extent (m2)(%)Land Extent (m2)(%)
Water pits679511.481676333.66
Clay Mining47866310.4655690712.17
Ma Oya3195936.983435067.51
Business area72950.1577950.17
Home Garden161062735.21173042337.83

Law 12 of 1990, on Environmental Desecration of the North- West Province prohibited the land use within 100 meters of the bank of Ma Oya (Karunarathne, 2004). But unfortunately, the clay mining area has extended to the unauthorized area. In the GNDs of Metikotuwa, South Atiyawala and Jankurawela, clay mining has increased. This is mainly due to the fact that the clay miners buy the land suitable for cultivation. The Government is promoting the clay industry The National Craft Council has taken steps to update the technology by improving processes and adding modern machinery. It implemented a pottery village development program as part of the Entrepreneurial Villages Development Program of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. As part of this program, the council has taken steps to provide electric mills and other equipment to beneficiaries and also to improve infrastructure in these villages. Opening of “the pottery village” in Matara is a plan to encourage potters. ‘Shilpasaviya’ is also a programme to provide outlets and opportunities to craftsman to sell their products without going to a middleman.

Lakshan Fernando

Associate Member of CPM Sri Lanka

Executive – Internal Audit

Alliance Finance Co. PLC

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